E state agent Gaynor Walker made it her mission to help new east Londoners navigate “the wilderness of the Docklands” over her 30 years in the business.
The bubbly founder of Gaynor Walker Real Estate said her business, which began in Canon Workshops in 1985, grew with her clients as the East End saw a boom in development and the rising prices that brought.
“I saw the opportunities amongst all the dereliction and recommended to investors the right type of properties to buy in Docklands north and south of the river Thames,” said Gaynor .
“They did heed my advice – in fact most clients became friends and many of them were with me for 20 years.”
The 74-year-old, who moved to Scotland after closing her office, has called time on her three-decade career spanning and recently transferred her remaining clients to Robinson Marsh in South Quay .
Looking back, she said her role had initially been more than just someone helping others buy or sell homes.
“I wasn’t just an estate agent and property consultant,” said Gaynor. “I was all about helping people and introducing them to others. Introductions meant a lot to me and it kept people happy.
“Some people didn’t know where to go and for them it was like moving into the wilderness.
“They were so used to seeing Oxford Street and all the facilities being visible, we had to tell them where they were going. If they didn’t know the area, we didn’t tie them down to a 12-month contract either. The main thing was satisfying everybody.”
Her work as a residential property consultant saw her secure and retain many faithful clients who were keen to both rent and sell in the area.
She said back then, the main draw for buyers and tenants to the Docklands was its riverside location and views of the water, which also provided a hook for those looking to sell their home on later.
Gaynor’s firm also excelled in the short-let market, offering contracts to tenants for less than 12 months, which also helped reduce void periods for property-owners.
She was also a familiar face on the networking scene, hosting events and get togethers as well as offering friendly, informal advice to arrivals in east London about everything from how to meet neighbours to where to go for a drink.
She said: “People keep asking me where I am. I used to organise get-togethers and invite tenants and landlords, and they’ve been ringing me to say: ‘When’s the next do?’.
“I miss going out, meeting people and seeing new people. You really get into the Docklands, and into the feel of it.
“I never would have thought in 1988 when I watched the DLR being built in Limeharbour, that the area would develop so quickly – its been absolutely massive.”
This article was written in support of The Wharf’s Property supplement.